CommunityCommunity, relationships, friendship, and kindness has occupied a large portion of my psyche after writing this article about communityreading this one about OCR cat fights, and observing a week of political/societal/cultural upheaval in the United States.  THIS IS NOT AN ARTICLE EXPRESSING MY POLITICAL OPINIONS.  The world has enough unsolicited opinions and this site is about obstacle racing.  The OCR community is diverse with men & women of all ages, races, socioeconomic statuses, political affiliations, and spiritual beliefs.  While that is extremely cool, it also means that as a whole we will have traits and beliefs that others do not like and opinions with which others disagree, oftentimes vehemently.  As a member of the community, I’m certain there are numerous things about me that turn a lot of people off.  Let’s name a few.

  1. For starters, my INTJ personality trait is not the most endearing. Who wants to be around someone who doesn’t tolerate crowds well and likes to think and analyze?
  2. My near obsession with being time efficient in everything also can’t be good. #DoNotSlowMeDown
  3. My wife’s favorite is that I don’t take well to people telling me what to do
  4. The fact that I simply love being home doesn’t rank high on most friend factor scales
  5. My tendency to replace emotion with logic when examining issues, situations, and dealings with people doesn’t spread warm fuzzies
  6. By default, my Christian faith automatically makes me subject to derision.
  7. Finally, my overwhelming good looks and charm intimidates everyone else.  #Sarcasm

I could continue the list, but it will only depress me.  If we examine the shortcomings of the rest of the OCR community, we will find individuals who are vain (hard to believe, I know), boastful, narcissistic, short-sighted, rude, proud (in the bad way), judgmental, disrespectful, short-tempered, and at times have exhibited unethical behavior, moral superiority, intellectual superiority, or bad sportsmanship.  This week alone we have all witnessed high levels of spite and intolerance from both liberals and conservatives; and passive aggressiveness has reigned on both sides – most often disguised with a mask of “love”.

Yet even as we see people’s ugly traits on television, on social media, and in the mirror, we have the choice to how we respond within the OCR community.  One way is to go on a mass unfriending spree, eliminating anyone who doesn’t agree with us.  As for me, I choose to look beyond the negative traits and focus on the good of my OCR friends.  Every racer I know, regardless of whether we share common beliefs, has one or more attributes I admire and respect.  I see dedication.  I see compassion.  I see humility.  I see physical and mental acumen.  I see integrity.  I see inspiration.  I see encouragement.  I see honor.  I see helpfulness.  I see defenders of the weak.  I see positivity.  I see unselfishness.  I see resolve.  I see caretakers.  I see men and women who steadfastly believe they are doing what is right.  When I look for those things, I see some really good humans!

I am avoiding all blatantly aggressive and passive aggressive social media posts directed at others because of beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, or actions contrary to their own.  I will continue to steadfastly use judgment in my own actions and beliefs, but I will not judge yours.  You can choose how you want to carry and represent yourself.  I am only responsible for Jeff.  I pledge to look at each individual for his/her own exemplary traits.  My hope is that by doing so, I will help strengthen our community, not divide it.

OnMyWayToSparta can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.